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Casey Close, the agent for prominent MLB Players including Derek Jeter and Ryan Howard will join NBA agent Jeff Schwartz at Excel Sports Management, according to Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal. Close left CAA Sports in February.
Close is expected to represent Jeter, Howard and Derrek Lee on baseball matters, but the agent will share the marketing responsibilities for Jeter and Howard with CAA going forward, according to Mullen. Paul Pierce and Blake Griffin are among Schwartz’s notable NBA clients.
Jeter (through 2014) and Howard (through 2016) are under contract long-term, but Lee is on a one-year deal and will become a free agent again after the season. MLBTR's Agency Database has agency information for all teams and players.
As ESPN.com's Buster Olney points out, the Giants would have to have a legitimate alternative in place before dumping Barry Zito and the $64.5MM remaining on his salary. If Jeff Suppan earns a rotation spot or someone else pitches unexpectedly well, the Giants could consider releasing Zito, but until then they can use the durable left-hander. Here's more on the Giants and other notes from Olney:
- Olney says now is the time for the Giants to dump Zito if they're ever going to do it. The Giants are coming off of a World Series title, so Olney argues that they're working from a position of credibility. They aren't likely to cut Zito, however.
- As Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News writes, manager Bruce Bochy says Zito is the team's fourth starter and GM Brian Sabean says the team isn't frustrated with him.
- One talent evaluator says "the athleticism has been taken out" of Domonic Brown's swing.
- Derek Jeter's relationship with the Yankees will be defined by the team's perception of what's required to win, writes Olney. The team will likely be willing to put Jeter at the bottom of the order or switch him to another position if his performance declines.
- It's for that reason that Jose Reyes could become a solution for the Yankees when he hits free agency after the season.
Agent Casey Close is leaving CAA Sports when his five-year contract expires at the end of the month, reports Liz Mullen of The Sports Business Journal (subs. req'd). A hat tip goes out to Maury Brown at The Biz of Baseball.
Mullen says that CAA and Close are still trying to work out the details of his departure, "which may involve CAA and Close sharing the representation of some of the clients going forward." Close represents Derek Jeter, Ryan Howard, Michael Cuddyer, and Derrek Lee, among others.
It's unclear if Close will join a new a firm or work independently, though Brown notes that high profile agents (such as Dan Lozano) have been going out on their own recently. Close was one of the first sports agents that CAA hired when it launched its sports division in April 2006. It is primarily a Hollywood talent firm.
Let's take a look at some links for Monday night..
- Jane Lee of MLB.com writes that Athletics manager Bob Geren believes that his club has improved by leaps and bounds this winter.
- Recent addition Orlando Cabrera might not hold the Indians' starting second-base job for long, writes Jordan Bastian of MLB.com.
- Yankees captain Derek Jeter is not going to be happy about the comments made by Hank Steinbrenner earlier today, writes Tyler Kepner of the New York Times.
- David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution points out that Braves GM Frank Wren is now under contract for the same period as manager Fredi Gonzalez, whom he hired to replace Bobby Cox. Earlier today the two sides agreed to a two-year contract extension.
- There may not be a spot in the Blue Jays' bullpen for pitcher Casey Janssen but the veteran says he's not looking for a way out of Toronto, writes Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com.
- New to San Diego, Jorge Cantu says that he's ready to produce even though he'll be asked to move around the diamond, writes MLB.com's Tom Singer. The Padres offically inked Cantu to a one-year deal worth $850K towards the end of January.
- Speaking of brand new members of the Pads, Kevin Frandsen is delighted to be back in the National League, tweets Dan Hayes of the North County Times.
It doesn't take much to coax Yankees co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner into giving his thoughts on the state of the franchise and baseball as a whole. The outspoken part-owner sounded off on a number of topics to reporters today, writes Bryan Hoch of MLB.com..
- Steinbrenner seems worried about the team's drive to win, saying "I think maybe they celebrated a little bit too much last year," the co-chairman said. "Some of the players are too busy building mansions and other things and not concentrating on winning." Shortstop Derek Jeter built a mansion in Florida during the offseason after negotiating a new three-year, $51MM deal. When asked if the comment was directed at the team captain, Steinbrenner insisted that he wasn't singling anybody out.
- The Yankees' 2010 payments as a result of luxury tax and revenue sharing programs are expected to total about $130 million, Steinbrenner said. He continued to say that the Yankees are allied with other major market teams on the issue and believes that Commissioner Bud Selig wants to "correct it in some way." Hoch noted that in a recent interview on Boston's 98.5 the Sports Hub, the commish said that he is happy with the system as it stands today.
- Steinbrenner says that pitcher A.J. Burnett seems "very hungry" for a bounce-back season. Last year, Burnett turned in a 5.26 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9. The 34-year-old right-hander is set to earn $16.5MM annually through 2013.
- Skipper Joe Girardi, closer Mariano Rivera and several hitters were consulted on the idea of signing Rafael Soriano, Steinbrenner said. Last week, Rivera said that he had not been consulted about the signing but was happy to have the reliever aboard.
We've already heard this morning about one New York club finalizing some minor league deals, while the other had a minor league offer turned down. Let's catch up on the rest of the latest updates on the Yankees and Mets….
- On the heels of hiring agent Scott Boras, Robinson Cano says he doesn't intend to ask the Yankees for a contract extension before his current deal expires, writes Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger.
- Derek Jeter spoke to media today at Spring Training, including Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News (Twitter link). The longtime Yankee said that, when the time comes, he fully plans to exercise his 2014 player option.
- Feinsand's Daily News colleague Bill Madden would like to see the Yankees open up the competition for the fourth and fifth rotation spots to some of their top prospects.
- Luis Castillo arrived later than expected to Mets' camp, due in part to his brother's upcoming surgery, tweets Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork. Newsday's David Lennon adds (via Twitter) that Castillo cleared up the misunderstanding with manager Terry Collins and is ready to compete for the team's second base job.
- Ronny Paulino's arrival to camp has also been delayed, in his case by visa issues, says Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger. Paulino, who was suspended last year for violating baseball's drug policy, will miss the first eight games of this season as he finishes serving the suspension.
This round of Monday afternoon links includes updates on one player who is leaving the AL East, one who is just arriving in it and one who has played his entire career there…
- Former Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell tells Rob Bradford of WEEI.com that he knows he'll miss playing this year, though his transition to retirement has been smooth so far.
- Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun explains that Orioles owner Peter Angelos and president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail wanted to sign Vladimir Guerrero and that Guerrero wasn't wavering on his $8MM asking price. The sides agreed to a deal last Friday.
- Derek Jeter tells Brian Costello of the New York Post that that he's "done with" feeling hurt by his contract negotiations with the Yankees and not worried about potential position switches.
- GM Brian Cashman told John Harper of the New York Daily News that he talked to Derek Jeter's agent, Casey Close, to clarify comments he made earlier in the week about a potential move to the outfield for the captain.
- As Joel Sherman of the New York Post points out, both the Yankees and the Rangers pursued Cliff Lee aggressively, then "gambled on a former Cy Young winner who has been devastated by shoulder injuries in recent years." But Colon is a back-of-the-rotation arm, not a true alternative to Lee. Brandon Webb, the Rangers' new addition, is no sure thing either.
- The Yankees are upbeat about the chances that Andy Pettitte returns for another season, according to Sherman. They're still considering free agents like Justin Duchscherer and Jeremy Bonderman, though.
- The Yankees believe history is a 'pull' for Pettitte, Sherman writes. He can progress through Yankees records and add to his Hall of Fame case if he plays more.
- Manager Joe Girardi showed the kind of sway he has with the Yankees when he voted in favor of adding Rafael Soriano, according to Sherman.
Four American League East teams won at least 85 games last year. Here are some notes on AL East clubs, as they prepare to compete in baseball's most challenging division:
- It's "doubtful" that the Red Sox will sign another pitcher to a Major League contract this offseason, reports WEEI.com's Alex Speier. One reported Boston target, Joe Beimel, has already been offered a minor league deal by the Orioles and has three other teams interested.
- The "belief" is that the Blue Jays will go to an arbitration hearing with Jose Bautista, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. There have been rumors that the Jays might avoid a hearing by signing Bautista to a long-term contract, but Bautista's agent told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that the team has yet to offer such a deal to the defending AL home run champion. Check out our Arb Tracker for the latest.
- Many of Bautista's current and former teammates believe Vernon Wells will thrive in L.A, Morosi writes.
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman suggested this morning that Derek Jeter will likely shift to the outfield before his current deal expires, but he tells MLB.com's Bryan Hoch that it's "not an issue we have to deal with right now" (Twitter link).
- The Orioles have "limited funds" at this stage, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter).
- Carl Crawford, who recently left one AL East team for another, plans to meet some of his former Rays teammates for dinner this spring, and B.J. Upton jokes that it will be a good chance for Crawford to put his new contract to good use. "I won’t be the first one to pull out my credit card,’’ Upton told Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times (Twitter link).
- Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com discussed the challenges of developing healthy pitchers with Orioles scouting director Joe Jordan.
- As Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com writes, the Orioles could sign a utility player to a minor league deal and have him compete for a job with Brendan Harris and Robert Andino.
- WEEI.com's Rob Bradford explains why Manny Ramirez's $2MM base salary isn't necessarily a bad omen for David Ortiz, who will hit free agency after 2011. Big Papi has continued to produce offensively, so Bradford suggests the slugger could be in line for an $8-9MM salary next offseason.
On this date two years ago, the Tigers sent Matt Joyce to the Rays for Edwin Jackson. It's been a busy couple of years for Jackson, who has bounced from Detroit to Arizona to Chicago, twirling a no-hitter along the way. Here are today's links…
- The Royals haven’t approached other clubs about possible Zack Greinke trades, according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star (on Twitter).
- ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick explains that teams other than the Red Sox, Rangers, Yankees and Nationals are hunting for bargains, even though it’s “decidedly less sexy” than pursuing the top free agents.
- ESPN.com's Jayson Stark has the breakdown for Derek Jeter's contract.
- There's minimal interest in Brendan Ryan, so the Cardinals may hold onto him for now, according to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Twitter links).
- Garrett Atkins has drawn interest from Japanese teams, but would like to return to the majors, according to Tracy Ringolsby of FOX Sports.
- The Rays will listen to offers for Matt Garza and some clubs are looking for alternative trade targets to Zack Greinke, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney. One major league source tells Ed Price of AOL FanHouse that the Rays will certainly trade Garza (Twitter link).
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports lists the Red Sox and Scott Boras among his Winter Meetings winners and the Angels and Rays among the week's losers.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post agrees that the Rays and Angels had a rough week.
- Jon Heyman of SI.com argues that the Dodgers and Kevin Correia are among the year's Winter Meetings winners
- In a separate piece, Sherman explains that the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry is back, as the two clubs continue their "endless fight for baseball superiority."